WILLIE AND MERLE HEADLINE NU COUNTRY TV SERIES FINALE
Octogenarian Willie Nelson and the late Merle Haggard headline the Nu Country TV Series #31 finale at 9.30 pm on Saturday December 24 on Channel 31/Digital 44.
Illinois young gun Mo Pitney honours Merle at his Nashville tribute show by performing one of his classics live in BehindBars on a show repeated on Monday at 2.30 a.m.
Californian Jon Pardi and Texan Robert Ellis also appear in the program hosted by Mid Pacific Bob Olson and filmed and edited by Laith Graham.
And Sydney trio The April Family return with a live flashback to 1943.
Texan Kacey Musgraves also previews New Year’s Eve with another journey to the past.
Nu Country TV is a highlight of C 31 streaming list on Digital 44.
Just follow this link on your computer or mobile phone - http://www.c31.org.au/series/487
MERLE WENT TO GOD AFTER WILLIE WENT TO POT
Texan Willie Nelson, 83, and late Californian icon Merle Haggard have long been renowned for their pure country.
They also exhibit some humorous social comment in their video It’s All Going To Pot from their third duet disc Django And Jimmie.
They recorded their album and several videos just 12 months before Merle died on his 79th birthday on April 6, 2016.
Django And Jimmie is their sequel to Seashores of Old Mexico in 1987, Pancho & Lefty in 1983 and trio disc with the late Texan Ray Price Last of the Breed in 2007.
The duo act out their herb superb satire It’s All Going To Pot in a quirky collage of live and studio footage.
The lyrics include “It's all going to pot/whether we like it or not/as far as I can tell/the world's gone to hell/and we're sure gonna miss it a lot.”
Both are well qualified to sing of their favourite booze surrogate. Merle's promoter hired a smoking carriage on his overland train during his 1996 Aussie tour.
And Nelson was feted during his 1981 tour with Dead Livers hit I'd Love To Have A Joint With Willie that became the Texan grandfather's pre-concert warm-up song on their public address system.
Your diarist declares his vested interest here - he wrote the lyrics with Dead Livers singer Marty Atchison and landed the story on front pages of national newspapers.
Eight of 14 tracks on Django And Jimmie were co-written by either Haggard or Nelson.
“The title track is about Django Reinhardt and Jimmie Rodgers,” Nelson explained.
“Both of those guys were very influential in both of our careers.”
Django and Jimmie is Nelson's sixth studio album for Legacy since signing with the label in 2012.
“It's really good; I think it's the best one we've done,” says Haggard.
“We didn't really do any swing, per se, we just did straight-ahead songs that we felt good about.”
Even though Nelson was victim of recent death hoaxes he's very much alive and well and launched his own line of marijuana and related products called Willie's Reserve.
Merle recently graduated from Bakersfield High School 60 years after attending his last class as a truant.
He was also awarded an honorary doctorate by the California State University in Bakersfield in 2013.
That was long after he committed petty theft, broke out of jail 17 times in and around Bakersfield before being sent to San Quentin despite not committing a major crime.
On one occasion he broke into a Bakersfield restaurant through the back door kitchen when it was still serving refreshments.
In San Quentin he turned 21 and was inspired to start a country career after watching one of Johnny Cash's famed prison concerts.
California Governor Ronald Reagan pardoned Haggard for all crimes and expunged his criminal record in 1972.
MO PITNEY RESURRECTS MERLE’S FARMER’S DAUGHTER
Mo won acclaim when he performed with the house band at the star studded Merle tribute show.
“I got to meet Merle Haggard for the first time on 2/4/2013 at 4:45,” Pitney revealed.
“When I got to meet him, I tell people that I just don’t get nervous around people, but Merle was one guy that I walked away from that meeting going, ‘Holy crap, that was Merle freaking Haggard.
“And with that feeling that I’d never felt before, I went home and I had writing scheduled with a buddy of mine, Don Sampson and I said, ‘Hey, you want to write a song that’s not gonna make my record?’ and he said, ‘Sure!’ I don’t know why, but it ended up making my record anyway.”
“I'm a huge Merle Haggard fan. What Am I Gonna Do with The Rest of My Life is one of the greatest songs I've ever heard. Forget You Every Day is another great song. Farmer's Daughter's is probably in my top two, three favourite Haggard songs.
“I don't know all his music. A lot of people still stump me with some of the old stuff, but I know that I've heard some unbelievable music from Merle that I can't shut off. And the reason why I love it is not only because he's so melodic and such an unbelievable singer, but just the believability. The things he writes about. Kern River is another of my favourite songs.”
Mo has since released another single and video for Everywhere that followed Country and Boy And Girl Thing.
JON PARDI GETS DIRT ON HIS BOOTS
Californian Jon Pardi continues his footwear fetish by performing a live version of Dirt On My Boots from his second album California Sunrise.
He previously released a video for Head Over Boots on his sequel to debut disc Write You A Song.
Pardi, 31, is a true traditionalist as he recreates nostalgia and pays homage to the past and then reverts to the present with panache.
Pardi reined a horse theme with help from his dog, fillies and music mates in his previous video for Back On The Back Roads.
He also visited the Whiskey Bent Saloon in Nashville to film another video for What I Can't Put Down.
Pardi grew up in Dixon but ignited his career at Butte Junior College in Chico where he started Northern Comfort and moved to Nashville on February 23, 2008, with his dog, PA system and $7,000 savings.
He used a credit card to pay for lifeguard training to earn money until he landed a publishing deal 18 months later.
Two early collaborations Write You a Song and Fighting The Fool landed him his contract.
Further info - http://www.jonpardi.com/welcome.html
ROBERT ELLIS CALFIORNIA
Houston refugee Robert Ellis showcases his fall from the rodeo and romance in his new video for California that he wrote after splitting with his wife Destiny.
“I'm friends with my ex-wife, and I'm a songwriter, and of course I put my experience into what I do,” the recent Australian tourist revealed of his song sources.
California creates a world of love and loss with a sweeping narrative inspired by Ellis’s recent divorce but seen through the eyes of a woman.
What starts out as love under the lights of a hometown rodeo leads to intense fights and her eventual departure to sunnier skies and a new life.
Despite the heavier nature of California Ellis says the song - as well as the self-titled album it appears on - is actually more positive than his song-writing of the past.
“There’s a joy in the record even in songs like California, which are about sad things,” Ellis, now 27, explained.
“In the past, my writing was more fatalistic now I’m trying to inject a little hope. The woman in California has just gone through something very tough, but now she’s thinking about all the possibilities of where her life can go. Her life has opened up.”
California is on Ellis’s fourth album - a self-titled disc recorded at Sugar Hill studio in Houston - by the singer who played Melbourne in October.
He was born at Lake Jackson near Houston, lived in Austin, Wimberley and San Marcos before he moved to Nashville in 2012 and lived in a house near the local fairgrounds with his then-wife and leaving for Brooklyn in New York.
Since releasing debut album The Great Re-arranger, in 2009, Ellis has toured the world and won acclaim for second album Photographs that preceded his 2014 disc The Lights From The Chemical Plant.
Further info - http://robertellismusic.com/
APRIL FAMILY BACK IN 1943
Sydney trio The April Family took us back to Germany during World War 11 for their new video for 1943 - first single on their debut CD.
Kylie Whitney, Casey Atkins and Michael Carpenter perform their song live.
It preceded their second single You’re Someone That I Never Knew.
The April Family formed in late 2015.
Whitney had been working at Carpenter’s Love Hz Studios as an assistant, eventually evolving into a highly in demand backing vocalist.
They worked on Whitney’s debut album Something About Ghosts, released in early 2015.
Carpenter worked with Atkins in many bands for almost 15 years, and played on shows supporting Whitney’s album release.
Carpenter also recorded with The Cuban Heels and has released solo discs including The Big Radio.
He and Blue Mountains singer Allan Caswell wrote Back When I Was Older three months ago as a result of their regular song-writing sessions.
Further info - http://www.mcarp.com/
KACEY MUSGRAVES QUESTIONS ABOUT NEW YEAR’S EVE
Texan Kacey Musgraves sports a silver gown in her evocative video for What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve?
She walks the line between classic, glamorous and slightly cheesy old Hollywood mixed with high school prom with bass clarinet solo, sparklers, confetti, a huge moon backdrop, Auld Lang Syne and even a puppy.
What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve was written by Frank Loesser in 1947 and has been covered by fellow Texan Lee Ann Womack, Carpenters, Barry Manilow, Donny Osmond, Barbra Streisand, Ella Fitzgerald, Patti LaBelle, Harry Connick Jr, Zooey Deschanel, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and many more.
Musgraves included the tune on her first Christmas album A Very Kacey Christmas featuring collaborations with Quebe Sisters and Leon Bridges and A Willie Nice Christmas featuring frequent partner Willie Nelson.
“There’s so many great classic Christmas songs, it was really a challenge to figure out which ones from my childhood memories I wanted to include,” Musgraves, now 28, revealed.
“Ultimately, we just decided to include my favorites. I wanted to have a good mix of familiar Christmas songs, because I knew I would have four originals on there too, so I wanted there to be a mix of something new to add to your Christmas collection and then something that you recognise.”
To help promote the record and spread Christmas cheer Musgraves is on the road on A Very Kacey Christmas Tour.
HOW TO KEEP NU COUNTRY ON AIR
We need your support as we celebrate Nu Country TV’s 31st series with Australian record companies and artists teaming to ensure our survival.
Warner Brothers promo wizard Tony Midolo has given us Blake Shelton’s 12th CD If I’m Honest and Sony has donated the latest CD and DVD by Georgian star Jason Aldean.
We also have Angels And Alcohol - 20th album by fellow Georgian superstar Alan Jackson.
Also CDS by major artists you can win by becoming a Nu Country TV member or renewing membership.
They include singing actors Willie Nelson, Tim McGraw and Toby Keith, Ashley Monroe, Brad Paisley, Carrie Underwood, Gary Allan, Dierks Bentley, Eric Church, Charley Pride and more.